Kendall Delashmitt, 13, of Hixson, Wednesday was awarded a $529 scholarship deposited into a TNStars College Savings 529 account in celebration of College Savings Month in Tennessee.
Kendall is an eighth-grader at Hixson Middle School, where she was presented the scholarship funds by Treasurer David H. Lillard Jr., joined by her district state legislators, Senator Bo Watson and Representative Robin Smith, both of Hixson; her parents, Jeremy and Casey Delashmitt; and Hixson Middle Principal, Dr. LeAngela Rogers.
Treasurer Lillard and the TNStars College Savings 529 Program made the scholarship giveaway available throughout September to all Tennessee residents, age 21 and older, to enter online on behalf of a child age 15 or under.
Kendall was one of three Tennessee children randomly selected on Sept. 30 from each of the state’s Grand Divisions to receive a $529 scholarship deposited into a TNStars College Savings 529 account in celebration of College Savings Month in Tennessee. The other winners are Adelyn Lynch, 4, of Collierville, who attends preschool at Our Lady of Perpetual Help; and Zac Carter, 10, of Brentwood, a fifth-grader at Kenrose Elementary School.
“Kendall’s career goals are to become a chiropractor and interior designer,” said her mother, Casey Delashmitt. “She enjoys playing sports, especially soccer and volleyball. She loves Tennessee Vols Football. She also loves her Golden Retriever puppy named Ollie.”
In August, Governor Bill Lee issued a proclamation declaring September as College Savings Month in Tennessee, stating that national student loan debt has surpassed $1.6 trillion. One way families can help avoid student loan debt is by opening a 529 college savings account. The TNStars College Savings 529 Program was created to encourage Tennessee families to save and invest for the future cost of higher education in a tax-advantaged way.
“Research shows that students who save money for college are seven times more likely to attend college than children with no dedicated account,” Senator Watson said. “In Tennessee, we want every student to have the option to pursue post-secondary education, whether that’s at a university, community college or college of applied technology, to best prepare them to enter the workplace.”
TNStars offers quality investment options at a low cost, so families can save more money for college, officials said. Families can open an account with as little as $25 to start. Even small, consistent contributions to a 529 account can make a big impact over time.
“Kendall has an excellent opportunity to receive a great education in Tennessee,” Representative Robin Smith said. “We hope this scholarship will put you and your family on a solid track toward the college savings you will need to pursue your career dreams.”
Money invested in a TNStars account grows tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, room and board, books, computers and more.
"I want to congratulate Kendall, and encourage her to use these scholarship funds to pursue her career aspirations,” Treasurer Lillard said. “It's important to start saving early, so that compounding interest works for you rather than against you with student loans, and I hope this scholarship will help you get started down that path.”